David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Can there be an obligation to obey laws produced by patently illegitimate political institutions, or are these laws like rules of etiquette – rules we might have reasons to follow but which we are not obligated to obey?2 Exclude from the scope of this question laws that recapitulate or contradict independently valid moral principles. Let us instead query only whether there is an obligation to obey laws that (i) do not recapitulate or contradict valid moral principles, and (ii) are products of illegitimate political authorities. In this paper, I argue that there can be such an obligation even if the laws’ “parent” political institution is not legitimate. I do so by showing how the law (whatever its provenance) can generate interpersonal relationships that have deep moral significance – relationships that in turn ground an obligation to obey the law.
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